The Hollywood Reporter is running with a story that best-selling Marvel Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis has signed with Random House to write Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Graphic Novels. The book, which will hit in 2013, is being billed as a non-fiction guide for writers who want to break into comics and a companion piece to the writing-for-comics course that Bendis teaches at Portland State University. According to the article, it was this class that encouraged the publisher to approach Bendis.
Fans who are worried that, given his massive workload in comics as well as the Powers and Ultimate Spider-Man TV series, Bendis may be inching away from sequential storytelling to make these things work, he tells The Hollywood Reporter that’s not happening: “It seems for my friends that do write novels that are in comics as well, you kind of have to stop doing your comics for a while to get your novel done, and I’m not ready to do that at the moment.”
It’s not a how-to-write-like-Bendis book, though; the author is quick to point out that it’s more about navigating the industry, both from a creative, financial and even a legal point of view.
“We read in the paper every week someone did something wrong, someone didn’t sign something, someone didn’t protect themselves,” Bendis told The Hollywood Reporter. “Every minute there are more and more platforms in which you can succeed and get ripped off. You need to protect yourself.”
The most obvious example of that in the news right now, of course, is the Before Watchmen controversy–although a Marvel guy like Bendis may be loathe to point out the example of Jack Kirby, who created almost every character being used as a lead in next month’s The Avengers and who many fans feel was bilked out of all of those rights.
The book will also repeatedly discuss different approaches to comics scripting, such as the difference between the “Marvel Style” and full-script comics.